Saturday, October 19, 2013

Amid allegations of victim intimidation, Missouri prosecutor Robert Rice doesn't appreciate having his name 'dragged through the mud' for dropping charges against two alleged athletes/rapists

A seven-month investigation by the Kansas City Star has uncovered suspicious conduct by the Nodaway County, Missouri prosecutor, Robert Rice, who dismissed all felony charges stemming from the alleged rape of two Maryville girls drugged with alcohol — and maybe something else — at a party attended by local wrestling and football athletes.
     One of the girls, 14, was dropped outside her house in a tee shirt and sweatpants in 22-degree weather for 2-3 hours after the incident. A fifteen-year-old boy was charged in juvenile court for having nonconsensual sex with the 13-year-old girl. Matthew Barnett was charged with the rape of the other girl, and another 17-year-old, Jordan Zech, was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor for allegedly recording explicit cell phone video of the older girl and Barnett together, which was passed around at his school but subsequently disappeared from his phone.
     Sheriff Darren White told the Star that he “felt confident the office had put together a case that would ‘absolutely’ result in prosecutions.” He said, “Within four hours, we had obtained a search warrant for the house and executed that. We had all of the suspects in custody and had audio/video confessions.” The doctor who treated Daisy the following morning called the prosecutor’s decision to drop the charges “surprising.”
     The Kansas City Star's account of the above news conference by Rice includes the following:
     Rice’s account of the witnesses’ cooperation differs from that of Melinda Coleman, mother of one alleged victim, who contended in a story in The Star on Sunday and other media appearances this week that she had willingly spoken with authorities until Rice dropped the two most serious felony charges in March 2012, two months after he’d filed them.

Read more here:
     Rice declined to give the date of the deposition or to clarify whether the witnesses’ invocation of their Fifth Amendment rights occurred before the felony charges were dropped.
     Coleman says, she went to Rice’s office and recorded a taped statement declaring that she and her daughter would invoke their Fifth Amendment rights not to testify. The reason, she told The Star, was that she didn’t want to put her daughter through the anguish of reliving the incident with only a misdemeanor charge at stake. She says she changed her mind a day later.
     Barnett is now a student at the University of Central Missouri. Before he made his twitter account private, Reporter Arnett found this retweet:
If her name begins with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, she wants the D.
Following the heavy lifting of the Kansas City Star, Anonymous is now piling on.

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